Monroe County Crime Lab sees huge improvements

Posted at: 02/13/2013 5:59 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

The Monroe County Forensics Laboratory is using a unique method to help investigators solve crimes and the new process has brought an unbelievable amount of success to the lab, improving efficiency by 200%.

Big numbers usually come with a big price, but according to lab officials, this system may end up saving money instead. This new process is changing the way Monroe County Crime Lab handles its cases.

Forensic cases take a lot of time, so the Monroe County Forensics Lab wanted to try something new.

Jennifer Hill, Monroe County Crime Lab Forensic Biologist said, “We basically evaluated our entire process, we cut out part of the process that wasn't necessary and we tried to streamline parts of the process we need to keep.”

Forensic biologist Jennifer Hill tells says the lab started using a new approach last year. The team of 13 learned this process from a company called Sorenson Forensics and so far its been successful here in Monroe County..

Hill said, “We're trying to double the gains we currently made. So we currently have a 200% increase and I believe our goal by the end of the year is a 400% increase from where we were prior to the project.”

In the beginning of 2012, the number of processed DNA samples were around 100. But between September and October, that number almost tripled. Technicians hope that trend continues.

Right now, the lab is backed up with almost 500 cases. But with this new system, they predicting there will be no backlog by the end of 2014.

Hill said, “We're working as hard as we can to get through as many cases as we can. We are trying to serve the community as best as we're able.”

The new system is being paid for by a federal grant. News10NBC is told the system will actually decrease costs, not raise them, thus saving taxpayers money.

Hill said, “We actually don't have a dollar number for the actual money we are saving but what we are able to do is we are able to double the amount of cases we can put through with the same amount of money.”
This technique is taught in training courses through out the world. As of right now, more than 500 law enforcement agencies have used this method.

The county received $17,490. This grant was approved back in 2010.. The biggest way the county will save money off of this new process is by not hiring more people to do this very unique job. They say with this new system, they will get more with less.

For more information on Sorenson Forensics, click here.